Consumers urged to be smart online shoppers

CYBERSECURITY company Kaspersky is advising Filipinos to practice safe online habits this Christmas season.

The company warned that cybercriminals are especially fond of the Christmas season when financial transactions are prevalent. In the Philippines, online shopping and being active on social media are historically highest every December.

This as Filipinos are said to enjoy the longest holiday vacations during this month, compared to its neighbors in Southeast Asia.

“With the long break which we can spend with our family and friends to travel and relax, this holiday season is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year. Let us keep it that way by keeping our guard up as we enjoy this season,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“It is the time where shopping online increases and posting on social media is on the rise. It’s also worth noting that a lot of employees may be traveling with their corporate laptops and mobile phones, working remotely to avoid work emails from piling up. These mean additional opportunities for cybercriminals to wage their own holiday campaigns. We encourage everyone to practice basic good online habits throughout this break to keep these crooks out of their way,” Siang Tiong warned.

Kaspersky is particularly advising Filipinos to be mindful of banking Trojans which usually target users of online financial services and online shoppers in general.

These Trojans use online store brands to hunt for credentials like login, password, card number, phone number, etc. It can intercept input data on target sites, change the online page content and/or redirect visitors to phishing pages.

Kaspersky noted that as soon as the fourth quarter kicked in it discovered and blocked the top three malicious programs detected to have attempted to infect its users in the Philippines.

Smart online tips

To avoid the risk of threats during Christmas time, Kaspersky suggested online users to “wrap passwords in layers of complexity.”

It said that combining letters, numbers and characters make passwords a little harder to crack. It also advised to change regularly passwords if they have been used for quite a long time.

The cybersecurity firm also advised to scope out sites when buying online.

“Check out reviews of online stores to decide if they’re legitimate and safe before you put in your personal information,” it said.

Kaspersky also advised consumers to review the purchased list twice. “Make sure your email confirmation is legitimate as cybercriminals send out phishing emails for a quick click,” the firm said.

It also advised to protect devices and access the internet only in secured network.

“Just as with your passport, camera or wallet, don’t leave your gadgets unattended. As a traveler, installing anti-theft software on your mobile devices should be at the top of your list,” it said.

“Avoid public Wifi and choose VPN which will provide you with a secure connection that will prevent an attack on your personal information,” it added. (KOC)

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